White Sox: 4 players who should make the playoff rotation

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in an MLB baseball game against the New York Yankees on April 14, 2019 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Chicago won 5-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in an MLB baseball game against the New York Yankees on April 14, 2019 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Chicago won 5-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox, Dylan Cease
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox would probably be the best number four starter.

A year ago the White Sox didn’t trust Dylan Cease enough to be a starter during their elimination game against the Oakland Athletics. What a difference a year makes. The 25-year old right-hander has shown flashes of brilliance and taken major strides in his development. His fastball touches the upper 90s while his slider has the highest spin rate in baseball. He also features a devastating knuckle curve.

Cease has a 3.92 ERA and leads the White Sox pitching staff in strikeouts. His 177 punchouts are the third-most in the AL. After his start against the Blue Jays, Cease has now allowed three earned runs or less in 22 of his 26 starts this season. Only three pitchers have more such games.

Meanwhile, the regression of Dallas Keuchel has been ugly. Heading into Friday’s start against the Cubs, Keuchel had a whooping 6.02 over his previous nine starts. Lasting only one inning against a triple-A caliber Cubs lineup doesn’t help matters.

This has been the story of Keuchel’s season. His 5.4 K/9 strikeout rate ranks near the bottom of the league. All the contact he gives up places him in the bottom 10 percentile in expected ERA, expected batting average, and expected slugging percentage. Simply put he is getting shelled. Even his outs are tattooed off the bat. Keuchel ranks second in the AL in hard-hit outs which are balls that are put in play over 95 mph.

Both of these factors are enough to leave Keuchel out of the playoff rotation. While Cease certainly has its flaws Keuchel has been unbearable to watch. It is difficult justifying throwing him out for a playoff game at this point.

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